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What to do while you wait for exam results

When the exams are done, what happens over the summer?

The summer months can be pretty stressful, with your child second guessing their results and you fretting about whether they’ll get the grades they need to move on to the next stage of their life. If you don't want them just sitting around the house waiting, here are some ideas for keeping busy and avoiding arguments while you wait for their results!

Don’t keep talking about the exams

If your child has told you they feel like some of their exams didn't quite go to plan, there's no point in continuously going over what they could or should have answered - what’s done is done. You probably already asked how each exam went as soon as they left the exam hall, so try not to carry that conversation on now, as a) they probably won’t have done as badly as they fear, b) you can be driven mad by overthinking, and c) there's nothing anyone can do about it now anyway. So remain positive and move on. And if your child walked out of each exam confident they’d done well, don’t question them about that either - you want them to remain upbeat! Try to focus on the fact they’ve done their best, because that's what’s important.

Friends are more fun – and that’s ok!

Let’s face it, a lot of teenagers won’t want to spend their break with their parents, so encourage them to organise to see friends. This is a great opportunity (particularly for A-Level students) to go on a ‘parent-free’ holiday or to a festival, so help them book a fun trip with a few mates, so that they really make the most of the summer. This might be their last chance to all be together for a long time, so as well as being a great distraction for them, they'll be making lasting memories too.

Keep them busy with some work experience

If they don't already have something lined up, try gently prodding your child towards work experience or a part-time job. It will give them independence, a taste of what working life is like and some extra cash! Talk to your friends and see if anyone can give them a week’s experience in an industry they’re interested in. If they already have a weekend or evening job, they could ask for extra hours or you could let them know if you spot any local shops advertising for summer staff. Any experience is good experience and something to add to their CV.

Think of something to do on exam results day

No matter how your child’s results shape up, make some fun plans for the day itself, so that they have something to look forward to. Take them out for dinner, or go and see a film they’ve been wanting to see – it’s a day all about them and their achievements. By planning a special treat, you’re showing them that whatever the results, you’re proud of them, and they should celebrate!

Make alternative plans

Although it's important not to dwell on how the exams have (or haven’t) gone, as a parent you can help your child take a practical approach and be prepared for whatever lies ahead. If you haven't already done so, sit down together now and discuss three plans – their ‘ideal’ scenario, the ‘could have gone better’ scenario, and the ‘worst case’ scenario. This will help your child to remain positive and accept that if they don't get their 'ideal' first time around it's not the end of the world (we all know teenagers can be a little dramatic) and that they'll still have a future they’re happy with and feel supported in.

Stay positive

Your child is not their grades, so remember that whether they put their all in, or could have done with attending a few extra revision sessions, you are proud of them. If you, as a parent, stay positive and cheery over the next couple of months, even if you’re really worried about the end result, then it will rub off on your child. Make sure they know you support them and are pleased with whatever they achieve.

Good luck to all the kids (and their parents) who are awaiting GCSE and A-Level results this summer – we’re sure you’ve done a great job!

Related articles:
Surviving results day 
The results are in, what's next?

Reviewed: June 2019

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